United States District Court, D. Nevada
C. Jones, United States District Judge.
the Court is The Plaintiff's application to proceed
in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 1). Based on the
information regarding The Plaintiff's financial status,
the Court finds that The Plaintiff is not able to pay an
initial installment payment toward the full filing fee
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The Plaintiff will,
however, be required to make monthly payments toward the full
$350.00 filing fee when he has funds available.
courts must conduct a preliminary screening in any case where
a court grants in forma pauperis. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In its review, the court must
identify any cognizable claims and dismiss any claims that
are frivolous or malicious, or that fail to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted or seek monetary relief from
a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915A(b)(1)(2). All or part of the complaint
may be dismissed sua sponte if the Plaintiff's
claims lack an arguable basis in law or fact. This includes
claims based on legal conclusions that are untenable, like
claims against defendants who are immune from suit or claims
of infringement of a legal interest which clearly does not
exist, as well as claims based on fanciful factual
allegations or fantastic or delusional scenarios. See
Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 327- 28 (1989);
see also McKeever v. Block, 932 F.2d 795, 798 (9th
for failure to state a claim is proper only if it is clear
that the Plaintiff cannot prove any set of facts in support
of the claim that would entitle him or her to relief. See
Morley v. Walker, 175 F.3d 756, 759 (9th Cir. 1999). In
making this determination, the court takes all allegations of
material fact as true and construes them in the light most
favorable to the Plaintiff. See Warshaw v. Xoma
Corp., 74 F.3d 955, 957 (9th Cir. 1996). Allegations of
a pro se complainant are held to less stringent
standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, but a
plaintiff must provide more than mere labels and conclusions.
Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980); see
Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696,
699 (9th Cir. 1990) (recognizing that pro se
pleadings must be liberally construed); see also Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
“While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a
complaint, they must be supported with factual
allegations.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
679 (2009). “Determining whether a complaint states a
plausible claim for relief . . . [is] a context-specific task
that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense.” Id.
the Plaintiff sues Reno Police Department and Washoe County
District Attorney's office under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
alleging that the Defendants racially discriminated,
wrongfully imprisoned, and unlawfully arrested the Plaintiff.
To state a claim under Section 1983, a the Plaintiff must
allege two essential elements: (1) that a violation of a
right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States was violated, and (2) that the alleged deprivation was
committed by a person acting under the color of state law.
enjoy absolute immunity and cannot be civilly liable for
performance of their duties no matter how severe their
misconduct may be. Imbler v. Pachtman, 424 U.S. 409,
427 (1976). Accordingly, the Court dismisses Washoe County
District Attorney's office with prejudice from this case
as no amendment can make the prosecutors civilly liable.
other hand, the police department may be liable, but the
Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to survive a
dismissal of the case. To state a claim against a
municipality under Section 1983, the Plaintiff must allege
facts to support that his constitutional rights were violated
due to a policy or custom of the municipality. Corez v.
County of Los Angeles, 294 F.3d 1186, 1188 (9th Cir.
2001). Therefore, a plaintiff cannot state a Section 1983
claim against a municipal defendant unless he alleges that
the municipal defendant maintained a policy or custom
pertinent to the Plaintiff's alleged injury and explains
how such a policy or custom caused his injury. Sadoski v.
Mosley, 435 F.3d 1076, 1080 (9th Cir. 2006). The
Plaintiff has failed to identify any policy or custom that
led to any of his claims.
specifically to the Plaintiff's individual claims against
the police department, in order to state a claim of unlawful
arrest under Section 1983, the Plaintiff needs to allege: (1)
that the he was arrested, (2) that the police officers did
not have probable cause, and (3) that the police officers
actions were motivated by a policy of the municipality (as
stated above). Lacey v. Maricopa Cnty., 693 F.3d
896, 918 (9th Cir. 2012). Here, the Plaintiff did allege that
he was arrested, but has offered no facts to support a
finding that a policy motivated the alleged violation or that
there was a lack of probable cause.
racial discrimination is actionable under Section 1983
against a police department when it amounts to a violation of
equal protection and the violation was motivated by a policy
of the municipality. In order to state this claim, the
Plaintiff needs to allege: (1) that the police officer(s)
acted in a discriminatory manner, (2) that the discrimination
was intentional, and (3) that the police officer(s) were
motivated by a policy of the police department. Reese v.
Jefferson Sch. Dist. No. 14J, 208 F.3d 736, 740 (9th
Cir. 2000). Again, the Plaintiff has failed to allege the
sufficient facts to support a finding of this claim. The
Plaintiff needs to assert facts with particularity to support
a finding of these elements against the police department.
The Plaintiff claims that he was charged with felon in
possession, because he is black. However, in Nevada, a police
department does not have authority over who is charged and
with what crime. Cairns v. Sheriff, Clark Cty., 89
Nev. 113, 115 (1973) (“The matter of the prosecution of
any criminal case is within the entire control of the
district attorney . . . .”) (citing Nev. Rev. Stat.
§ 173.045; Nev. Rev. Stat. § 252.110).
the Plaintiff sues for “wrongful imprisonment, ”
however, this does not neatly fit into a Section 1983 action.
Inasmuch, as the Plaintiff is arguing that he should not be
imprisoned, the Plaintiff must file a habeas corpus action. A
Section 1983 action is not a proper remedy for a prisoner
seeking damages for “harm caused by actions whose
unlawfulness would render a conviction or sentence
invalid.” Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477, 486
(1994). That is, if a judgment in favor of a prisoner in a
Section 1983 case would “necessarily imply the
invalidity of his conviction or sentence . . . the complaint
must be dismissed unless the Plaintiff can demonstrate that
the conviction or sentence has already been
invalidated.” Id. at 487. Since it decided
Heck, the Supreme Court has further stated that
“a state prisoner's [Section] 1983 action is barred
(absent prior invalidation)-no matter the relief sought
(damages or equitable relief), no matter the target of the
prisoner's [Section] 1983 suit (state conduct leading to
conviction or internal prison proceedings)” where
“success in that action would necessarily demonstrate
the invalidity of confinement or its duration.”
Wilkinson v. Dodson, 544 U.S. 74, 81-82.
Accordingly, this claim is dismissed from this case; the
Plaintiff needs to make this argument in a habeas corpus
petition or appropriate state court procedure.
Plaintiff is granted leave to file an amended complaint to
cure the deficiencies of the complaint. If the Plaintiff
chooses to file an amended complaint, the Court advises him
that an amended complaint replaces the original complaint, so
the amended complaint must be complete in itself. See Hal
Roach Studios, Inc. v. Richard Feiner & Co., Inc.,
896 F.2d 1542, 1546 (9th Cir. 1989). The Plaintiff's
amended complaint must contain all claims, defendants, and
factual allegations that The Plaintiff wishes to pursue in
this lawsuit. Moreover, The Plaintiff should ...